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Small Business Insurance Basics: 10 Things You Need to Know Now

When you hear the words “business insurance,” you might think this only applies to large, established businesses. But in fact, this is an important topic for any sized business – from the largest corporations to the smallest, one-person operation and everything in between.

Whether you’re simply in the beginning stages of getting a business idea up and running, or already own an established business, it’s important to know a few basic things about how business insurance works, and what kinds you might need. Here are a few tips to get you started – or to provide you with a quick review.

1. Property Insurance – understand what it covers

Property insurance covers not only the physical structure which houses your business, but also the contents inside the structure. This could include equipment, office furniture and even inventory.

2. Liability Insurance is a must

No one likes to think about it, but getting sued is always a possibility for a business, regardless of its size. Having the proper amount of liability insurance is of the utmost importance. Liability insurance can help with expenses if your business is sued, but it can also help pay for expenses if anyone is injured due to a faulty product or service.

3. Worker’s Comp – check your state’s requirements

If your business has employees, it’s very possible that you’ll need worker’s compensation insurance. If anyone is injured on the job while working for you, worker’s compensation insurance will help pay for medical expenses. Most states require worker’s comp for all sized businesses, but be sure to check your state’s requirements to be sure that you get the proper type – and amount – of coverage.

4. Errors & Omissions

E&O Insurance is similar to Liability Insurance, but it is specifically for professional services businesses. This type of insurance can cover expenses that may be incurred due to accusations of negligence, or the failure to perform your professional services. Even if you haven’t.

5. Got employees? Consider EPLI

Employment Practices Liability Insurance applies to situations where businesses are sued for things such as discrimination, sexual harassment, or wrongful termination. At one time, these topics were only of concern to larger companies, but in today’s environment, businesses of all sizes can be subject to these types of suits. If your business has employees, it’s wise to consider adding EPLI coverage to your Business Owner’s Policy (BOP, described below).

6. Is Key Employee Insurance worth your while?

Many times, the success of a business relies on the involvement of specific employees. If one of those employees were to pass away unexpectedly, their absence could affect the profitability of the business. The beneficiary of a key employee policy is the business itself. Key Employee policies can often be requested by lenders, to meet certain credit requirements.

7. Cyber Liability Insurance is gaining in popularity

More and more business is being transacted online. And more and more data are being stored in “the cloud,” allowing for ease of access and reducing the need for companies to invest in storage or storage facilities. However, as more business is transacted electronically, the more that information is opened up to theft and hacking. Cyber Liability Insurance will help protect businesses if they experience a data breach; it will help cover costs ranging from legal expenses to public relations expenses.

8. Directors & Officers Liability Insurance is NOT the same as E&O

As the name implies, D&O insurance specifically protects the directors and officers of a company. D&O insurance protects the business, and sometimes the directors and officers themselves, in the event of legal action brought for alleged wrongful acts. While lawsuits such as these are less common in the United States, if your business operates outside the U.S. this type of coverage is definitely worth investigating further.

9. Don’t forget about the car!

If you have vehicles that are owned by your business, and are used exclusively for running your business, they won’t be covered by personal car insurance; a separate business auto insurance policy is needed. There are many types of coverage available, and auto insurance can sometimes be bundled into your Business Owner’s Policy. However, individual plans can be more easily customized.

10. Consider a BOP

A Business Owner’s Policy can be a great way to bundle common types of business insurance into one handy policy. BOPs are customizable, and can save you money since there are multiple types of coverage combined into one policy. Purchasing a BOP can also simplify the insurance process, since you’ll have just one policy, one renewal date, and one premium payment to deal with. While combining policies can be extremely convenient, it should only be done if you can truly have all of your insurance needs met by one product. If your business is of an unusual nature, or you have specific insurance needs, it might be best to still consider individual policies. Working with a trusted insurance agent or broker will help you ensure you’re getting all of your business insurance needs taken care of.

Understanding the Need of Having Adequate Business Insurance Cover

Insurance is a means to protect the businesses from unforeseen risks; it provides peace of mind to the business owners. However, choosing adequate insurance cover is crucial to leverage the benefits it offers. This article sheds light on the negative impact of under or over insuring a business and the importance of having adequate insurance cover.

Under-insurance or over-insurance – impact
Besides determining various risks that your business is likely to face, you also need to calculate the amount required to cover the risk to determine adequate cover, failing which you may face the following issues –

• Revenue loss: Under-insurance may cost you dearly. The low premium may initially attract you, but it may lead to revenue losses when the risk arises. If any risk arises and your business is not covered with adequate insurance, it may affect your business financially, as you have paid for an insurance cover that is less than its value and you have to bear with the loss of revenue.

• Business interruption: Being under-insured may lead to business interruption, because, if your business is not covered with adequate insurance, you have to endure losses in case of physical property damage or liability claims. Until you spend some money from your pocket to re-build the business, you may not be able to run your business. Business interruption, thus, halts the revenue you are generating.

• High premium rates: Over-insurance results in paying high premium costs, for a coverage that goes beyond the actual cash value of the risk that was insured by the policy holder. If your business is over-insured, and you are paying high premium, which is actually not required, you will be in a loss.

Adequate insurance and its importance: Incidents such as accidents, natural calamities like storms, etc. can result in interruption/closure of your business. Having adequate insurance coverage is, therefore, very critical to protect your business from such kind of risk. Following are two more benefits of having adequate insurance –

• Smooth business operation: If your business is insured with adequate insurance coverage, you can operate your business smoothly. You need not worrying about the risks that may occur in your premises.

• Resume operations after unexpected events: After an unexpected event at your business premises, you need to rebuild your business to resume operations. At this critical time, having business insurance is very helpful; it will cover the loss incurred. It helps rebuild your business and resume operations.

Determining the insurance cover for your business
Before you purchase insurance for your business, it is important to calculate the total value of assets and costs required to repair/replace them when an unforeseen event happens. For this, take help of tools such as property value calculator, replacement cost estimator, etc. which enable you to determine the coverage required for your business. This way, you can avoid the instances of both under and over insurance.

Take expert advice
After knowing the importance of having adequate insurance for your business, purchasing it on your own can prove risky, as you may miss on a few things. Therefore, it is better to take advice of insurance brokers as they will help you in choosing adequate insurance coverage after looking at all the aspects of the business.

Your business may be thriving well; however it might face difficulties which you cannot foresee. Purchasing insurance that covers all the potential risks to your business adequately is, therefore, a sensible business idea.